October 17, 2006 5:58 AM   Subscribe

"This may very well be the single greatest biological discovery of our age" - rods, or skyfish, are the subject of a documentary by Jose Escamilla. While some are skeptical, Jose and others aren't dissuaded and Kozo Ichikawa claims to catch them bare-handed. Japanese TV reports, and USA's unit 13 investigates. Heres a guide to photographing them or filming, or buy an instructional video and rod-rod, known as a spoodle and try to catch some yourself.
posted by MetaMonkey (43 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They are insects. There is no mystery.
posted by pmbuko at 6:14 AM on October 17, 2006

It doesn't seem to say anywhere, but I'm assuming that all of the images have been captured using digital technology. I will be more impressed if they have also been captured on film. If they can't be captured on film, then I am inclined to believe that it is an artifact of the imaging technique rather than a real world object.
posted by daveg at 6:14 AM on October 17, 2006

I think Sol has it right. I remember the first time I came across Escamilla's "Roswell rods" site years ago he casually mentioned that he'd only ever seen "rods" captured by one type of video camera, the Sony VX1000 I think, but did not seem at all curious about this fact. I figured then it was probably an artefact of digital video capture, but now I'm absolutely convinced.

But, hey, once again, time to recall the words attributed to Thomas Swift - "You cannot reason a man out of a position he did not reason himself into".
posted by kcds at 6:21 AM on October 17, 2006

Rainbow Rod routinely attends the pride parade in Toronto.
posted by srboisvert at 6:25 AM on October 17, 2006

The indoor version are orbs, also only visible on digital equipment.

I found that link ages ago because we stayed in the "bird room" they filmed in. No sign of orbs that time, though. Or skyfish.
posted by imperium at 6:26 AM on October 17, 2006

I'm into some pretty weird cryptozoology theories (as a skeptic, mind you, but interested nonetheless), but the delving I did into rods showed me conclusively that they are artifacts from video cameras. They don't show up on film, and as far as I know, there's no film-based photo of the things in existence. Someone might say, "Well, if they are transdimensional beings, maybe they live in a realm that can be captured by video but, for reasons unknown to modern science, not by film." I guess I can't argue with that, but it's certainly not proof. Not even good evidence.

They're insects, IMHO.
posted by zardoz at 6:33 AM on October 17, 2006

Interesting quote, kcds. I hadn't heard that. I tried to verify the attribute but only found more confusion: Thomas Swift, Mahatma Ghandi, Benjamin Franklin, Orwell. Turns out it's Jonathan Swift: "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."
posted by yeti at 6:36 AM on October 17, 2006

This covers it pretty conclusively.
posted by fire&wings at 6:38 AM on October 17, 2006

Loonies on parade
posted by caddis at 6:45 AM on October 17, 2006

I gotcher rod right here
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:47 AM on October 17, 2006

I’m skeptical. That said, last year if someone told me there had been giant camels I’d have to say I’d never heard of them. Of course, the kind of evidence is very different.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:54 AM on October 17, 2006

(From the "Kozo Ichikawa" link:)

"You don't eat skyfish," he says. "You just catch them and then release them again. That's all. Mind you, if you did eat them, I guess they'd probably taste a bit like nata de coco (a healthy, jelly-like Filipino food produced from coconut milk)."

Yes. Yes, of course. That's exactly what they'd taste like.
And the Easter Bunny tastes like marzipan.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:57 AM on October 17, 2006

Flying Rod mystery solved

In the early autumn of 2005, news bulletins in China and Hong Kong reported on a story which debunked the flying rods. Surveillance cameras in a research facility in Jilin supposedly captured video footage of flying rods identical to those shown in Jose Escamilla's video. The curious research staff of the facility, being scientists, decided that they would attempt to catch one. Huge nets were set up and the same surveillance cameras captured rods flying into the trap. When the nets were inspected, the "rods" were no more than regular moths and other flying insects. Subsequent investigations proved that the appearance of flying rods on video was an optical illusion created by the slower recording speed of the camera (done to save video space).

OK, so it's wikipedia, but it's wikipedia reporting on SCIENCE! Don't you see?!!?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:58 AM on October 17, 2006

Why is no one calling these people out as liars? They are not mistaken or misguided believers, they are liars. They know there is nothing there, and they go about taking delierately blurry photos, which they use on websites where, surprise surprise, they also sell nonsense.

Here's my scientific analysis - there isn't a camera on the market today without sub-half-second autofocus, white balance, and auto-exposure meter. There is simply no excuse for taking dozens of out-of-focus pictures of anything. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the people who are putting these theories forward are too stupid to use a camera.

Swift said it best, these people did not reason themselves into this position. They came to it out of loneliness, alienation, and frustration. And a little arrogance. UFO types are the trolls of reality.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2006

I wonder if it was RODS that made WTC 7 collapse?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:05 AM on October 17, 2006

In my mind, space ships look like remote controls, at least, it's fun to make my remote controls zoom around the couch while I'm watching TV, and then they can open up and unload their cylindrical cargo and then jet away.
posted by sohcahtoa at 7:18 AM on October 17, 2006

Why is no one calling these people out as liars?

Same reason nobody calls the Pope out as a liar - he really believes it.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 7:23 AM on October 17, 2006

HOMER: Stupid carbon rod. It's all just a popularity contest!
BART: Wow! Did you actually get to see the rod?
posted by rxrfrx at 7:24 AM on October 17, 2006

OMG, alien rods brought down WTC7! It all makes sense now! The chem trails, the black helicopters, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Mayan spacecraft, we're through the looking glass people!

In the Glorious New Regime, I swear we're gonna use idiotic beliefs like these to determine who needs to be shipped off to our horrible undersea smelting facilities where the lifespan of laborers is measured in days.

Think about that the next time you hear someone spouting off about flying translucent alien rods -- is the speaker really working for the monstrous Special Services Group? Will listening to him get you bundled away in the middle of the night to a secret detention facility where you'll be forced to listen to my speeches 24x7 until you finally beg for the sweet mercy of death?
posted by aramaic at 7:30 AM on October 17, 2006

While some are skeptical

Some, in this case, referring to anyone in the scientific community with even a shred a credibility.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:31 AM on October 17, 2006

people are so weird. I cannot figure out how people convince themselves that these mechanical distortions are animals. I wonder if they've taken pictures of people running and looked at the stills of that...

...and after looking at the "unit 13" video, I have to add, people are so lame, exploitative, disingenuous, misleading, melodramatic, condescending, and stupid. seriously, that was depressing.
posted by mdn at 7:35 AM on October 17, 2006

I wonder if it was RODS that made WTC 7 collapse?

posted by MrMoonPie at 7:40 AM on October 17, 2006

Ah, crap. Trying again...

posted by MrMoonPie at 7:45 AM on October 17, 2006

The thing I liked about the Fortean Times article is how he keeps saying that he was right there when this picture of the rod was taken, and he didn't see anything with the naked eye. He compares this with pictures of birds and insects, which he was able to see with the naked eye, and then offers this up as proof that rods aren't birds or insects, and since they are neither birds nor insects thereforetheymustbereal.

It's like some kind of weird anti-logic.
posted by chrismear at 8:31 AM on October 17, 2006

This is yet another awesome tool in the arsenal of detecting the stupid. Now we won't necessarily have to ask about someone's overarching views on natural selection in order to verify their propensity to absorb and reflect bullshit.

"Have you heard about how the scientific community is unilaterally trying to bury research into the rod phenomenon?"

"Why, yes -- I have!"

"Okay, cool. Just checking. By the way, your watch is on upsidown."
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 9:08 AM on October 17, 2006

This reminds me of the great tradition of Skype hunting (which has nothing at all to do with internet telephony).

If you're very quiet and move very fast you'll catch one! Keep trying!
posted by aladfar at 9:16 AM on October 17, 2006

I believe you're referring to snipe hunting.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:19 AM on October 17, 2006

Or maybe quail hunting. Mistakes are made.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:25 AM on October 17, 2006

quail hunting....mistakes....cheney
ahhhhh, now I get the point of this post!
posted by HuronBob at 9:31 AM on October 17, 2006

people are so weird. I cannot figure out how people convince themselves that these mechanical distortions are animals. I wonder if they've taken pictures of people running and looked at the stills of that...

You would think, but after seeing video of one "UFO" going "amazingly fast" -- well it was a freakin' light and a whole lot of camera shake. Look! It's zig-zagging around like crazy!!

The scary thing is that these people look normal. You might reproduce with one.
Discuss these things with your sig others, people.
posted by dreamsign at 10:25 AM on October 17, 2006

This is going on my board of things to use to trick people. Like Snipe Hunting, or the Johnson Monster, or the Crawleyville Dance Hall.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 11:18 AM on October 17, 2006

I think it's funny how he claims that these are entirely new species, "begging to be discovered and studied." Those are some stupid new species. Then again, if they really wanted to be discovered and studied, seems like they'd at least make noises or something. Maybe they're shy and seceretly dread scrutiny?
posted by owhydididoit at 1:12 PM on October 17, 2006

posted by owhydididoit at 1:12 PM on October 17, 2006

This truly is the single greatest make-believe biological discovery of our age.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:59 PM on October 17, 2006

No, I'm sure there are other, more significant make-believe biological discoveries.

That's the saddest part about this one - it's not even exciting enough to beat out some of the other, more interesting shaggy dog stories purported to be true because they're posted on the Internet.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:35 PM on October 17, 2006

Um... notice how the sun is partly covered and in the same position in the field of view on all of the photos? The rods are an optical artefact of the lens arrangement of the particular type of camera he's using. Probably.

If not, I wonder what they taste like?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:58 PM on October 17, 2006

The rods aren't aliens. They are insects remote controlled by old man Johnson who wants to drive the kids off their land so he can sell out to a housing developer. And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids!
posted by Megafly at 3:38 PM on October 17, 2006

Flashbacks can be a bitch, no?
posted by caddis at 5:08 PM on October 17, 2006

What's interesting to me about the rods fad is that focus has shifted from BIG things (e.g., like flying saucers or bigfoot) to things that are too fast/tiny/something to see with the naked eye. Perhaps this could be read as a sign that we're feeling more threatened these days by viruses, bacteria, chemicals, terrorists -- things that resist visibility -- than we are by big things like bombs . . . ?
posted by treepour at 5:51 PM on October 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

Spare the rod and spoil the spasm is what I always say.
posted by Sparx at 7:07 PM on October 17, 2006

I'm going to a Halloween party as the Scope Creep. Surely the Scope Creep needs a Rainbow Rod to hang out with.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:43 PM on October 17, 2006

I'll never forget the first time I heard about these... late night drive in a truck moving to NC in '97, Hale-Bopp out the window, nothing on but Art Bell. Jose Escamilla was just on the show, and Art hid him adieu. As if he were throwing up his hands, totally out of things left to breathlessly investigate, he understatedly said after a long pause "it's rods, folks."

This has been a fav catchphrase of mine since, akin to SOAP.
posted by moonbird at 4:04 AM on October 18, 2006

I hate it when these things fly over - they disrupt my orgone accumulators for days.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:15 PM on October 18, 2006

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